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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
The theory behind this basic vocabulary as stated in the introduction, is that 2000 words make up 80% of daily language in German. An additional 2000 words cover another 5-10%. This vocabulary list is split thematically (e.g. Trinken und Rauchen / Drinking and Smoking), with the most common word set in that category (1-2000): Alkohol, Bier, Getränk, Milch, etc. followed by the 2nd most common set of words in that category (2000-4000).

The idea is that you learn the first 2000, and then the next 2000.

Each entry has the German word, English word, IPA pronunciation, gender, (or verb type: e.g. transitive, intransitive, reflexive), imperfect and perfect past tenses, plural form, and a sample usage sentence.

This is not a dictionary, you still need that, especially since words are organized by theme, and then by spelling of the German word. There is an index of all the German words, but not for the English words. The introduction is in English but otherwise everything is listed in both German and English, e.g. sections: Menge und Maß = Quantity and Measure.

My copy was printed in Germany and I only found it at a small European bookstore in San Francisco. It seems not easily found in the states. That's too bad, because this is a perfect starter tool for people who are beginning to learn German. (like people who don't live in Germany!)
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I wanted to know, how rich my German vocabulary was. This book allowed me to gauge the extend of my vocabulary. I would not recommend it to a total beginner. One has to absorb around 500-600 very basic words (not to mention, basics of the German grammar) prior to studying from this book.
There is one aspect worth remembering. This book is a companion to another, very important aid (buy a German edition) by Langenscheidt entitled "Grundwortschatz Deutsch - Übungsbuch" (a key to all exercises is provided). Both books are by the same pair of authors who designed them as complementing each other(along the same word groupings and typographical conventions).
I study regularly from both, first absorbing (or reviewing) a number of words (grouped by a subject area) with simple sentence examples from the Basic German Vocabulary and then, study more advanced exercises dealing essentially with the same word-groups in the Exercise Book (Übungsbuch). There are two general divisions of words, the basic 1-2000 words and more advanced 2001-4000 most useful or, most commonly used words. Note that this is not the same as dividing words by frequency of appearance of words in a language of choice.
What is most important in this approach is that it complements any course or self-study program one might undertake. In addition, it re-enforces a habit of working with one's vocabulary in an imaginative way by subject areas (body parts, health, travel etc). This has been proven the most effective way to extend vocabulary in any language, avoiding hammering words into one's head by rote.
Finally, the approach just mentioned is a good preparation for the final step in studying a foreign language and, that is transition to a monolingual dictionary such as Langenscheidt Taschenwörterbuch - Deutsch als Fremdsprache or even better (this is the ultimate dictionary for a student of German) Langenscheidt Großwörterbuch - Deutsch als Fremdsprache. By the way, vocabulary of 4000 words as presented in the Basic German Vocabulary book covers 95% of all written texts in German !!!
In brief, any person who has done some German (knows very basics of grammar and about 600 words) and wants to keep extending his/her vocabulary should by all means buy the two books mentioned earlier on.
All the best in your studies. Remember the saying: Übung macht den Meister !
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
First off, there is some confusion here regarding ISBN numbers. There is a hard cover copy, a soft cover copy and a soft-cover workbook. The soft cover Bacic German Vocabulary is ISBN is 978-3-468-49400-0. The soft cover work book ISBN is 978-3-468-49419-2. I live in Germany and both soft covers are readily available here and on Amazon.de. I've studied this book cover to cover as it really is the best listing that I've found for the basic words needed for studying the German language - and there are a lot of bad basic vocabulary books out there. It gives you the most common 4000+ words. It gives them in sentences. It also provides a pronunciation guide to each word along with singular and plural of nouns (and genitive where needed) and the principal parts of the verb. Sweet! I guarantee if you really learn all these 4000 words and how to manipulate them grammatically, you'll have no problem in expressing yourself and getting the gist of what you read and what you hear. But it's not perfect. First off it was written in the early 1990s and though it has been updated to reflect the German spelling reform, evidently nothing else has been touched. So some of the vocabulary is a little dated and some important modern words are left out - using the word "typewriter" frequently is one that come to mind. Secondly, there really are quite a few typo errors ( I estimate I found about 30) that have evidently been in there for 20 years now. So the editors really new to put out a new edition. Other things that I wish had been done differently were - not giving verb vowel changes in the present tense, too much use of the simple past with verbs and English translations that frequently were way too (and unnecessarily) loose and occasionally downright wrong. Also they make little allowance for more colloquial speech - der in place of er and words like "sauer" which you frequently hear for "angry" - these you won't find here. But still it really was extremely useful for allowing me to concentrate on the most common words.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Very practical vocabulary builder: gives pronunciation guide (didn't know that "der Auftrag" is pronounced with a "k")next to each word along with a sample sentence to aid with proper usage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
After I ordered Langenscheidt's Basic German Vocabulary I surfed around trying to find a description of it. I didn't seem to find much, so I had to write this sketch. However, I don't know if it adds anything new to the previous reviews or not.

An impressive 91 percent of the books pages are taken up with presentation of the words. In a line or two the word's spelling, pronunciation, part of speech, ending(s), and translation are shown. The majority of space is devoted to example sentences, and these are given for almost all the words, except those relating to numbers, months, and countries. The example sentences give the impression of currency and realism. I noticed that the words comprising the example sentences are sometimes selected from outside the book's matter, which I consider something of a fault. I also deduct some points for the English translations, which I consider a little too restricted. For example, comparing with Collins Beginner's Dictionary, the word 'Lohn' is translated as 'wage, reward' in CBD, and as 'wage' in LBGV; 'erhalten' as 'receive, preserve' in CBD, and as 'receive' in LBGV. Extra meanings can mean a lot, and here could be included without altering page layouts.

It's easy to become critical of a 4000-word vocabulary because of what is inevitably left out. On the other hand, I know I would have to work long and hard to get flip-by mastery of the Langenscheidt vocabulary. All the words constituting the subject of the book are listed in an index, and by reviewing this compressed list you can judge your own current capacity as you exert your favorite learning strategy to expand it.

Physically the book is well made, as befits Langenscheidt products. The copyright is 1991, and the spelling was updated after 2006.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
As an English-speaking student living in Germany for the last seven months, I have to say this is, by far, the most valuable reference book I own. I bought a copy from Germany's Amazon (amazon.de), about two month into my studies here, after hearing my college professor rave about it. Now, I refer to it more than I refer to my German-speaking boyfriend.

Each german word listed is accompanied by its equivalent in English and a sample sentence to show proper use. Instead of following a typical language dictionary format this vocabulary book is broken into sections which each hold a general theme (The Human Being, Everyday Life, Travel and Traffic, Environment, etc.). I can't stress how much I would recommend this to any second- or third-year student of German. After mastering the grammar and rules of the language (all 3 cases, prepositions, past, present, and future tense), this book is extremely efficient in learning and understanding words used by Germans on a day-to-day basis.
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on July 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
I love this little yellow book. The idea is great. It contains at least one sample sentence for each word, both in german and english. This means 4000+ sample sentences with translations! Sample sentences can be found in usual dictionaries too, but with no translation. Therefore, if you are a beginner, they are useless.
It's also very useful when you are writing something in german, and you are not sure which is the most used translation for a given word. If you don't want to sound weird or old-fashioned, you can just look up in this yellow book, and see if the word is listed.
The cover looks also quite tought, which is pretty rare nowadays.
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